Autocar’s road test team responded thus: “Autocar is the first British motoring magazine to measure a Boxer’s performance accurately – which among other things means attaching an accurate speed measuring device to the test car – and not to rely on the car’s own speedometer, which above 150mph can be grossly optimistic.
“What one may see ‘on the clock’ in one direction is, with the greatest of respect, neither here nor there. There is not the slightest doubt about the performance we measured; it is what that particular car was capable of in the condition in which it was presented to us.
“That said, was that particular 512 BB au point? On hearing our results, Maranello Concessionaires suspect that it was not. They propose to check the car thoroughly and return it to Autocar for retest, which we shall perform.”
The test team laid bare their workings, proving that the Ferrari as tested could not have hit the hallowed speed: “To reach the magic 188mph, with the car geared as it is at 27.28mph per 1000rpm and not allowing for any possible tyre growth, the engine would have to rev at 6900rpm, well past the 6200rpm peak. Unless the power curve is absolutely flat, the gearing would seem to indicate a lower top speed than is claimed.”
Autocar nevertheless held the £26,104 car in high regard: “If the ultimate top-end performance is not within the Berlinetta Boxer’s grasp, it is more than compensated for by its flexibility. Snap open the throttle from 2000rpm upwards in any gear and the car surges forward.
“Ferrari has done a magnificent job but it would be nice to be able to say, if only for the Guinness Book of Records, that the Boxer truly is the fastest production car in the world.”
Previous Throwback Thursdays
4 March 1899 - Steam, electric or combustion engine?
14 February 1913 - 100 miles in one hour
8 April 1916 - Making post-war predictions
25 March 1922 - Caterpillar tracks are the future
2 February 1934 - The ethics of skidding
21 January 1949 - Tidier tails
24 April 1959 - Aston Martin enters Formula 1
27 January 1961 - Ford Thunderbird road test
6 May 1971 - Driving Ford's Supervan
19 January 1980 - Talbot Horizon road test
13 February 1982 - 4x4s tested on the farm
17 April 1985 - Secrets of a lost British supercar
28 April 1993 - BL's unseen concepts
16 March 1994 - Bentley's Concept Java
16 April 1997 - When Bugatti bit the dust
4 April 2001 - 0-260mph in 6.0 seconds
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